The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) is all set to float tenders for builders who would reconstruct old and dilapidated structures whose owners have refused to repair them.
The civic authorities are working on the rules and by first week of May, the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Act 2017, containing this provision, will come into force. The Bill was unanimously passed in the Assembly this year.
The KMC will first give notices to the owners of these buildings and urge them to repair them within a stipulated time. If they refuse, the civic authorities will float tenders for builders who will then reconstruct and remodel those buildings. The KMC will give additional FAR to the promoter which will be used to rehabilitate the tenants.
There are more than 2,500 old, dilapidated structures in the city. Most of them are situated in north Kolkata area including Strand Road, Strand Bank Road, Kalikrishna Tagore Street, Nimtala Ghat Street. There are some old buildings in Bhowanipore and Chetla also.
The KMC has failed to trace owners of several of these buildings which are occupied by tenants and many of them do not even pay the monthly rents for years together.
Senior civic officials said that in many buildings the KMC had put up boards declaring the structures as "dangerous and dilapidated". But the residents continue to live in those premises and the KMC has not been able to pull down the age-old structures on humanitarian grounds.
The state Assembly on Friday unanimously passed the historic Kolkata Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2017, on March 10.
Speaking in favour of the Bill in the Assembly, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee had said before its framing that he had spoken to people from all walks of life including legal luminaries, politicians, former Justice of Calcutta High Court Pranab Chatterjee who is currently the chairman, the state law Commission and common people. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had set up a group of ministers comprising Firhad Hakim, Amit Mitra, Partha Chatterjee, Purnendu Basu, Subrata Mukherjee to discuss the issue at length.
"As people's representatives, we cannot sit idle and a practical solution is required to address this burning issue," Chatterjee had observed.
The Bill was tabled by the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim. He said the ancestral house of Raja Subodh Mullick or the Bhukailash Rajbati was in a bad condition. "In Chetla, there are houses which need immediate repair but the owners are unable to carry them out themselves because of shortage of funds. The Bill will benefit both owners and tenants." He further added that the Trinamool Congress-government led by Mamata Banerjee was committed to protect the interests of the common people. The Act will be applicable to the KMC area only and after studying its application carefully, similar Bills would be prepared for the municipalities where old and dilapidated structures are a burning issue.